Tesco accused of lying to customers about baking bread fresh in store - when loaves are actually pre-made and defrosted in 'tanning machines'

The charity claimed Tesco load 'pre-made products into loaf tanning salons' A spokesperson for the British supermarket said the signage used in each individual store reflects the different ways they prepare bread READ MORE: Rise of the £15 salad! Brits swap sandwiches for salads (but complain about 'sky-high' price for 'just leaves')... so how much would YOU pay?

Tesco has been accused of misleading customers with inaccurate claims that its baked goods have been made fresh in store.

The Real Bread Campaign (RBC) has claimed that Tesco falsely claims in some of its stores that its bread is baked fresh onsite on both its signs and packaging - but the goods have actually been baked earlier in a factory and brought in.

The organisation alleges that many Tesco locations receive the bread pre-made from a factory and then defrost the loaves in ovens on-site, or as the RBC call them, 'tanning loaves machines'.

The RBC additionally claimed that Tesco states its bread is 'expertly baked' on packaging - despite branches hiring low-skilled staff with minimum baking expertise to reheat the loaves in stores.

Real Bread Campaign coordinator Chris Young said that instead of having skilled bakers and making bread fresh in store, staff now load 'pre-made products into loaf tanning salons'.

Real Bread Campaign have accused Tesco of misleading customers with the claims that bread is baked fresh everyday

Real Bread Campaign have accused Tesco of misleading customers with the claims that bread is baked fresh everyday

The RBC claims that the supermarket is in breach of consumer protection regulations, and has lodged an official complaint with the local authority that regulates Tesco - Hertfordshire County Council.

Chris Young wrote on the charity website: 'Over a number of years, Tesco has been shutting down in-store bakeries and making skilled baker roles redundant, replacing fresh bread making with staff members loading pre-made products into 'loaf tanning salons'.

'We're saddened by the company's audacity in telling shoppers that things are being expertly, freshly baked and amazed that they've been allowed to continue making such claims.'

'To be clear, this complaint is not that Tesco is making cheap products widely available, it is about how the company is marketing them.'

A spokesperson for Tesco told Femail: 'We're proud of our colleagues who freshly bake great quality, affordable bread in hundreds of our stores - and have done so since we opened our first in-store bakery in 1968.

'In some stores where we don't have the space to bake everything from scratch, we work closely with our bakery suppliers who prepare dough for us that trained colleagues bake every day in store.

'The signage we use in each individual store reflects the different ways we prepare bread, and our approach has been agreed with our Trading Standards Primary Authority.'

Tesco has 400 of 4,942 that contain bakeries where products are made fresh from scratch.

The charity alleges that the British supermarket wrongly claims staff bake bread in store throughout the day

The charity alleges that the British supermarket wrongly claims staff bake bread in store throughout the day

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council told Femail: 'We have recently become aware of the issues raised by the Real Bread Campaign and are looking into the matter.'

It comes after Lidl was forced to rename one of its bread loaves after it was accused of misleading customers by calling it sourdough in a fierce row.

The Sourdough Rye Crusty Bloomer is now called the Crusty Wheat and Rye Bloomer after a customer complained in June that the 'sourfaux' was made from 56 percent wheat flour and just 12 percent rye flour.

Lidl rejected the complaint, but campaign group the Real Bread Campaign then argued the name was misleading because baker's yeast was included in the recipe, in contravention of the traditional sourdough ingredients.

Sourdough is usually made using a live 'starter' - a paste formed from flour and water that grows natural yeast and other bacteria - but Lidl's recipe sees yeast added to speed up the process.

It comes amid a fierce row over the naming of artisan breads as campaigners push for laws which dictate what can be branded as sourdough.

After Lidl initially rejected the group's complaint, the Real Bread Campaign then took their grievances to Trading Standards.

When MailOnline contacted Tesco, a spokesperson said the advertising used in stores 'reflects the different ways' the supermarket prepares bread

When MailOnline contacted Tesco, a spokesperson said the advertising used in stores 'reflects the different ways' the supermarket prepares bread

According to the Real Bread Campaign, on December 1 Trading Standards confirmed: 'Lidl have taken the comments on board and are changing the name of their 'Sourdough Crusty Rye Bloomer' to 'Crusty Wheat & Rye Bloomer'.'

Real Bread Campaign coordinator Chris Young said: 'We're thankful that Lidl has come up with a more appropriate name for the product but we shouldn't have to be spending our time on individual cases like this.

'Whichever party forms the next government, we urge them to introduce our proposed Honest Crust Act of improved composition, labelling and marketing standards.'

He added: 'In the meantime, we urge all bakeries and retailers to adopt the measures voluntarily, including displaying full ingredients lists of unwrapped products at point of sale, so shoppers can make better-informed buying choices.'

On social media he shared news of the result and dubbed Lidl's loaf 'sourfaux'.

The Real Bread Campaign is also pushing for bakers who sell unwrapped bread to display the loaves' ingredients, in proposed legislation it calls the Honest Crust Act.

The Real Bread Campaign have claimed that Tesco is in breach of consumer protection regulations

The Real Bread Campaign have claimed that Tesco is in breach of consumer protection regulations

The act would include forcing loaves with added raising agents to be termed 'bloomer with sourdough' or 'sourdough flavour'.

A previous investigation by consumer website Which? revealed a loaf can cost up to £4 in a bakery but a fraction of this in the supermarket.

Of the 19 supermarket and branded loaves it looked at, only four got the stamp of approval for authenticity from The Real Bread Campaign in 2018.

Which? said: 'Many supermarket sourdough loaves we investigated contained additional ingredients that make it possible to complete a loaf in a couple of hours, making it cheaper to produce.

'While these ingredients aren't bad for you, or unhealthy, they are not present in traditional sourdough bread. And if you're someone who chooses sourdough because it doesn't contain added yeast, you'll want to avoid those loaves that contain it.'

A spokesperson for Lidl said: 'In a recent survey conducted by YouGov, shoppers named Lidl as their number one in-store supermarket bakery. Their love for Lidl's baked goods was reinforced further last month at the Baking Industry Awards, after being crowned Bakery Retailer of the Year.

'We continuously review and update our bakery range to ensure that we have the best offering for our customers at the lowest possible prices.'

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